In 1978, Downtown Statesboro was bustling with activity. Webb’s Nic Nac Grill served up some of the best fried chicken and cream pie in town; Tilli’s and Henry’s were the places for women’s clothing. Large department stores reined in downtown including Rosenberg’s, Minkovitz and the Buggy and Wagon. Georgia Southern was just a college and a very small one at that. A Georgian, Jimmy Carter, was president.
This is also the year that Janis Hope opened her first business, the Craft Corner near the Recreation Department on Stillwell Street. The next year she moved and expanded the business downtown at 46 and 48 East Main. Over the next four decades, Janis Hope has become been a fixture on East Main Street in Downtown Statesboro. Her businesses now include Main Street Bridal, which specializes in wedding dresses and bridesmaid dresses and B’Dazzled, which focuses on women formal wear including prom dresses.
“Mr. J.L. Dixon, a prominent businessman in Statesboro believed in me and took a chance on renting his buildings to me as a female entrepreneur,” Hope said. “I will always be grateful for his encouragement and support. For over 40 years, I have rented this space from Mr. Dixon and now his family. It has been a wonderful experience, one I wouldn’t trade for anything, but the time has come for me to retire and close the business and spend some time with my daughter and grandchildren”.
Hope announced her plans to close the popular store last week. She is liquidating the inventory and discounting everything 50 to 85 percent. She has a large inventory of wedding, prom and formal dresses by some of the most popular designers in the industry.
Hope learned the secrets to success in small business require a tireless work ethic, the ability to continuously innovate in response to an ever-changing market and always offer your customers the best products and back them up with personalized service and integrity in every sale.
Innovation was something she continued to do. After starting out as a craft shop teaching needlepoint and macramé classes and selling supplies, she saw that industry become decimated when deep discount retailers like Walmart opened. She had also been making custom veils for brides and had begun receiving requests to sell wedding dresses. She listened, introduced wedding dresses in 1990, and rebranded the store to Bridal Creations. Nine years ago, she once again rebranded the store to its current name Main Street Bridal and B’Dazzled Prom and Formal wear.
“I have sold thousands of wedding dresses and prom dresses and there is nothing more special than helping a bride or a prom girl find the perfect dress,” she said. “I will always be grateful for the opportunity to serve so many special friends through the years in our community. I have loved every minute of my 41 years in downtown Statesboro and will always carry in my heart a deep love for this amazing town.”
Hope plans to close both stores by July 1.